Hanabi: Fireworks Festival

Niihama Fireworks Festival!

We’re reaching the end of summer in Japan. Is still pretty hot and humid, but the nights are cooler, more typhoons are passing by and by 6:30p.m. is completely dark outside. With the end of summer, I am also beginning to think about the end of my stay in Japan. In less than a year I will be back in Canada, will go back to school and more or less go back to the life I had before I came to Japan, but with many more experiences.

Thinking about going home makes me think about the things that I will miss most about life in Japan. When it comes to summer events the fireworks festival is pretty up there in my list.

Every summer towns and cities around Japan have their annual fireworks festival (hanabi matsuri). This is the ultimate summer festival. It is always ridiculously hot and you need fans and lots and lots of water and you never stop sweating, but the festival is amazing. The town where I live, Niihama has its festival at the end of July and they display over 8, 000 fireworks. Children and adults alike love hanabi and we all gather at the bank of the river for this great festival.

My favourite thing about hanabi is seeing the girls wearing their yukatas (summer kimonos). They also get their hair done and accessorize it with flowers and other hair accessories. The yukatas are brightly coloured and they all look so, so beautiful. They also wear the traditional Japanese wooden clogs (gettas) and all night long you can hear the sound of the wood on the pavement. It has become my favourite sound in the summer! (as well as the sound of the frogs in the rice fields).

Hanabi matsuri is also a great occasion to eat all of the Japanese street food your belly desires. You can find fried potatoes, takoyaki (balls of dough with pieces of octopus inside), grilled squid, and my favourite yakitori, pieces of chicken or pork on a stick that are later grilled. A favourite among Japanese people both young and old in kakigori (shaved ice). They LOVE shaved ice and choosing from all the different flavours of syrup available. I am not a fan of shaved ice, but I always see the long lines of people waiting to get one.

This year I had the chance to see 2 fireworks festivals. One in my town of Niihama and one a few towns away in Imabari. The Imabari fireworks festival is much bigger and has almost double the amount of fireworks from the Niihama one. Some of the fireworks include shapes such as: hearts, happy faces, stars, etc.

I will most certainly miss attending fireworks festivals but I am glad that over the last 4 summers I have had the chance to experience something truly unique in Japanese summer culture.

Niihama Fireworks Festival!

The name of this firework display… the Niagara Falls. haha.

Imabari Firewoks Festival.